Osprey absent from Japan-U.S. joint drills

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft of the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa Prefecture did not take part in the U.S. military’s joint exercises with the Self-Defense Forces on Thursday.

The absence on the first day of the exercises followed a Japanese government request for a suspension of Osprey flights in the wake of Saturday’s fatal Osprey crash off Australia.

Still, Osprey aircraft may later participate in the exercises, which are slated to be held through Aug. 28 at some locations in Hokkaido, northern Japan, including a large-scale training area of the Ground Self-Defense Force, pundits said.

“Ospreys won’t be used until coordination with the U.S. side is made,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said at a meeting of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Security on Thursday.

“We are strongly urging the U.S. side to refrain from Osprey flights,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference the same day.

Six Ospreys from the Marine Corps’ Futenma air base in Okinawa were initially slated to take part in the drills.

The crash of a Futenma-based Osprey killed three of the 26 crew.Speech

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